‘The average nurse is £4,000 a year worse off than If their pay would’ve risen by the rate of inflation since 2008.’

The General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Paul Nowak, has taken apart the government’s false claims pushed against public sector workers and trade unions during his appearance on the broadcast rounds this morning.

Nowak, who has called for an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to help resolve public sector disputes over low pay and poor conditions, defended the unions against claims that their demands were unaffordable and that they were unwilling to negotiate.

Asked about the government’s claims that there were already pay offers on the table for many of those on strike, including nurses, Nowak replied: “It’s not a case of unions demanding the unaffordable, politics is all about choices, and the government has some clear big choices in front of it.

“It could for example decide to tax more heavily the excess profits of oil and gas companies, it could decide to tax wealth in the same way it taxes incomes but the reality is each and every single one of our public sector workers at the moment faces a real terms pay cut and that comes on the back of a decade of pay cuts. The average nurse is £4,000 a year worse off than If their pay would’ve risen by the rate of inflation since 2008.”

Nowak also took aim at Health Secretary Steve Barclays for refusing to discuss pay with nurses and accused the government of hiding behind independent pay review bodies and using them as ‘a human shield’.

He added: “When those bodies met and made their recommendations we didn’t have inflation running at 10-11%.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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